Culinista Kitchen®,  Recipes & Cooking

Protein Packed Salads For Weekday Energy

Shrimp salad with olives on a plate

by The Culinistas

When lunchtime rolls around we recommend getting on the protein salad train. It’s the perfect all-in-one meal to eat right out of the fridge if you’re in a pinch for time, keeping you full and energized throughout the day.  Varying ingredients gets the perfect forkful every time. Below is our secret formula for the best protein salads.

The Formula

No need to break out your calculator for this one.
Protein + Vegetable + Grain + Sauce or Dressing + Pop of Flavor = Deliciousness
Let’s break it down.


Lean into lean proteins as they tend to be more firm and hold up to sauces/dressings. We recommend chicken, shrimp, trout, and tuna. Poaching in a spiced or herby broth will add a backbone of flavor to every bite.


Choose something firm like celery, fennel, or collard greens. Avoid anything that wilts easily. Use a mandolin to slice thinly or sharpen your knife skills & give your veggie a good mince.


Grains are optional but a great way to bulk up your salad. Our take on Niçoise uses bulgar in lieu of potatoes; smoked salmon joins cavatelli and lemon for a picnic ready pasta salad, and sweet corn & squid accompany couscous for summertime patio fare. 

Sauce or Dressing

Keep in mind the components of your dish when deciding how to dress. Chicken salads will need a heartier dressing to prevent dry out. Our Shredded Chicken Salad blends almonds, lemon, and spices into a creamy sauce. Shrimp and other seafood works well with a lighter, zippier dressing.

Pop of Flavor

This is what will set your salad apart and keep you coming back for more. Consider adding something briny like olives, something spicy like chopped serrano, or something sweet like apple or golden raisins. The goal here is balance with the other components.

Thank you to Sylvie Rosokoff the beautiful photo.